PROGRESS Wrestling scheduled a mini UK tour with two shows in Birmingham and Sheffield on the weekend that the Rugby World Cup in France started.
Many of the superb physiques on display at Chapter 155: Feel The Noize would not have been out of place in the Stade de France or Stade de Marseille, and New Zealand or Argentina would have been pleased to have welcomed Big Damo, Brian Cage, Luke Jacobs and Yoshiki Inamura to their front lines.
As it was, the O2 Academies in both Birmingham and Sheffield were to host two classic PROGRESS shows with some fascinating outcomes which left PROGRESS fans intrigued by what the future brings for many of the wrestlers on display.
Birmingham’s show was headlined by Ricky Knight Jr’s open challenge to his ATLAS championship from Pro Wrestling NOAH in the form of top prospect Yoshiki Inamura, on his UK and European debut no less.
The opening match gave Japanese inspired bookends to the show with the return of Dan, now Drilla Moloney from a triumphant visit to Japan.
Drilla, a recent addition to Bullet Club and wearing his WGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, had a superb back and forth battle with Kid Lykos.
The #1 contender to the Men’s PROGRESS Championship had the #foreveryone movement behind him following his triumph at the recent Super Strong Style 16 tournament.
With the result in the balance, an intervention from the reigning PROGRESS Men’s World champion Spike Trivet handed Drilla a DQ victory.
Spike’s vindictiveness won today but another match in Sheffield is beckoning.
Renee Michelle – on her PROGRESS debut – certainly showed that her husband Drake Maverick doesn’t hold all the wrestling moves in their household as she took the PROGRESS Women’s Thunderb*stard key holder Rhio to the brink, whilst also delivering the most glitter ever seen in a PROGRESS ring.
Rhio was not going to be unlocked from her Number One contender position and with a thunderous package piledriver took the match and issued a further warning to current Women’s PROGRESS champion Lana Austin.
Next up was a glimpse of the future of British Heavyweight wrestling as Bullit, fast emerging from Spike Trivet’s ugly shadow as a force in the ring and not just as backup, issued a warning to his opponent tomorrow in Sheffield, Big Damo.
Bullit then showed his bull-like strength when toying with and then overcoming Kid Lykos II. After the match he was ordered to injure his much smaller opponent at the command of Spike Trivet, which he did with duty and relish.
The injury puts his ability to take part in the tag team match in Sheffield in doubt and left the faction of Dominatis Regnum smiling with horror.
It was then the Beast from Belfast, Big Damo himself, former PROGRESS Men’s and ATLAS champion facing AEW star and PROGRESS debutant, Brian Cage.
A fight of great strength was never better exemplified by Cage’s F5 finisher on the helpless 300lb of Big Damo.
Rather curiously, Bullit had earlier showed a mildly softer side as he acknowledged Big Damo’s inspiration for his wrestling career at Wrestlemania 34 as Killian Dain.
We shall soon find out if Bullit’s description of Big Damo being on his retirement tour backfires in Sheffield.
After the interval we saw local 0121 postcode inspired hero, Man like Dereiss overcome the taunting insults of Mark Haskins’ muse, Vic Haskins. Haskins who is fast regaining his favoured status among PROGRESS fans following his own superb Super Strong Style 16 performance, succumbed to an exquisite 450 splash.
Dereiss was fully deserving of this degree of recompense for last years controversial defeat by Spike Trivet in his hometown.
After the glitter of Renee, we then had the flashiest neon trainers in a PROGRESS ring carrying the effervescent Session Moth Martina to face the resurgent Lizzy Evo.
This was a repeat of their groundbreaking women’s match in Dubai, but with a different outcome as Evo refused to join in with the humour and overcame Dublin’s finest Session Moth.
The second former ATLAS champion of the evening, Luke Jacobs had a tantalising match against PROGRESS Men’s World Champion, the Vulture, Spike Trivet.
Due to the amount of chaos in this match , we can’t fully describe what happened here – but it’s safe to say no-one won.
Spike yet again provided some helpful interference and an increased sense of injustice in the Trivet/Lykos feud was delivered. One to watch back on DEMAND PROGRESS PLUS, for sure.
Finally, we saw the debut of Inamura, and rarely has a more impressive PROGRESS debut been seen.
Pro Wrestling Noah, under the watchful eye of the legendary Nosawa, would have been proud of their warrior as he matched the always impressive Ricky Knight Jr.
An epic battle gave Ricky the pin and his first headline victory at PROGRESS, and also the start of an intriguing career for the surely soon to be fan favourite Inamura.